Tireless and determined Chikako Nishiyama now visis Canada and shares her experience with residents in Montreal. Here is her interview by Nanako Ijichi from a cultural magazine, Coco Montreal.
On a beautiful summer afternoon, I had a chance to talk with Ms. Chikako Nishiyama, who was visiting Montreal.
As being a member of the Kawauchi village assembly, in Futaba county Fukushima, a regional government with a nuclear power plant, was one of the only people opposed to the nuclear power plant.
It’s been two and half years since the Great East Japan Earthquake and the nuclear accident. What is the true reconstruction?
- You were working as the primary opposition to the nuclear power plant before this accident occurred, so what has been the reconstruction now?
Thinking of reconstruction, we have to protect lives as a first priority. If the nation loses healthy people, is it impossible for the country to reconstruct and develop? Life and security comes first, and then we can plan for what happens next. Reconstruction is not just about improving infrastructure or constructing buildings. A reconstruction plan without considering nuclear issues doesn’t make sense. A nation must give top priority to saving the lives of people – if not; it is no longer an existence that can protect people.
The right reconstruction means to face the nuclear issue, with the right knowledge to protect lives. It’s not only Fukushima’s problem but also the whole of Japan’s problem.
- What can we Japanese do for our reconstruction, from a point of view of ‘protecting lives’?
It’s time for each Japanese person to develop global awareness. We should create a grassroots movement to develop relationships with trustable civilizations and communities, in order to get the right information and to take efforts to assure our safety. These grassroots movements and the exchange of opinions with civic organizations, are my reason for visiting North America and giving my lectures.
- Recently the media reported ‘There is no evidence that proves the risk of internal exposure to people after they return to Kawauchi Village,’ following a health survey from the regional government with the nuclear power plant.’ What do you think about this kind of report?
We have to be careful not to be led to believe, that we don’t have interest or awareness of issue of Fukushima anymore. If an authorized organization reports these things with an official document, no matter what the reality is, local people and even other Japanese people might think ‘Oh, the nuclear issue has been solved.’
Until the Fukushima nuclear accident in March 2011, there had been a so-called ‘safety myth’ in those local governments with nuclear power plants. Now the myth created by Tokyo Electric Power, regional governments, and the national government has collapsed, and we should open our eyes widely to the world and think about assuring the safety of our lives and creating a peaceful society without nuclear power.
From Coco Montreal, which is a monthly free culture magazine with articles in Japanese, English and French (published in Montreal, Quebec, Canada)